Serena Williams lost to Angelique Kerber 6-3, 6-3 in the Wimbledon women's singles final on Saturday, but after the match, fans shared what an inspiration Williams was for competing. Last week she beat Julia Görges 6-2, 6-4 in the Wimbledon semifinals and was one win away from her eighth championship.
Seven-times champion Williams had been bidding to claim a record-equaling 24th Grand Slam crown but made too many errors as Kerber ran out a comfortable victor in the final.
While Serena was frustrated by the surprise setback, she took heart from her run to the final in just the fourth tournament of her comeback following daughter Olympia's birth in September.
The husband of Serena Williams, Alexis Ohanian, has penned a wonderful tribute to his wife, after her appearance in the final of Wimbledon. "I was really happy to get this far", Williams said.
"It's obviously disappointing but I can't be disappointed; I have so much to look forward to".
"I knew that I had to play my best tennis against a champion like Serena", said Kerber, the first German woman to win Wimbledon since Steffi Graff in 1996.
"For all the mums out there I was playing for you today", Williams said.
Kerber broke Williams' serve to open the match - a rare and startling achievement. "I think it's important for us to share that message".
For a start, Williams was unable to dominate her opponent in the customary manner she deals with others. Unforced error after unforced error led to her losing consecutive sets, 6-3, to fall short of the title.
Williams didn't enter another major until this May, at the French Open, where she won the three matches she played before withdrawing with a chest muscle injury.
Kerber's triumph was confirmed in the next rally and she fell to the floor in a heap of overwhelming emotion when Williams hit the net. "Every year for a couple years she comes out to Wimbledon and has supported me. When I won the match point ... there have been a lot of emotions, a lot of work that I put in these last few months, a lot of sweating in the practice sessions to play in these moments".
She said: "I think without 2017 I couldn't win this tournament". I have so much to look forward to.